UGANET joins the rest of the world to honour the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. Our mandate lies on the foundation that the law, legal policies and human rights are critical enablers in influencing the success of health and wellbeing, and also works to mitigate the adverse social impact and suffering experienced by vulnerable groups. We, therefore, condemn torture from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings.
According the the UN, torture seeks to annihilate the victim’s personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being. The inescapable consequences of torture “often go beyond the isolated act on an individual and can be transmitted through generations and lead to cycles of violence.”
UGANET applauds the Government of Uganda for enacting a law against torture. The Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012 states that “…there shall, be no derogation from the enjoyment of the right to freedom from torture,” which is described in the Act as, “any act or omission, by which severe pain or suffering whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of any person whether a public official or other person acting in an official or private capacity.”
UGANET also recognizes the barriers to the fight against torture and the preservation of human rights, including a generally inadequate understanding of the law; the reluctance to testify against torture for fear of repercussion and inadequate forensic laboratory services that could help in ascertaining claims of torture. Despite all these, UGANET appeals to citizens to report cases of torture to police and other relevant institutions.
Torture is one of the worst human rights abuses with adverse physical, psychological, and emotional effects. We call upon all Ugandans to embrace the responsibility of fighting torture and its impact. We must prevent torture and to support torture victims with psychosocial and other forms rehabilitation,” says Dorah K. Musinguzi, the Executive Director of UGANET.
To combat torture, in the form of genderbased violence and other human rights violations, UGANET established the Rising Women Wellness Centre which provides temporary refuge and basic necessities for survivors. The shelter works to reduce stigma, and protect survivors from further harm as they embark on their physical and emotional journey of healing. Additionally, UGANET established a 24-hour helpline at the TOLLFREE number 0800333123, to help victims of violence and human rights violations, both from the local and international community.
UGANET underscores the need to compensate and rehabilitate torture victims and appeal to all concerned institutions to form mechanisms that can allow the voices of people who have undergone torture to be heard. We hope to see a torture-free Uganda, where all human rights are respected and protected.